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Health Eating on Game Day!

Posted on January 29, 2019 by Nikole Gavriilidis, MS, RD, CDE

It’s February and another football season is coming to an end.  The teams have been picked and the players are prepped.  Sunday, February 3 means game day, and for you that may mean you are hosting or possibly attending a Super Bowl party.  If you are doing either, remember that you can still make healthy choices even on a day known for its famously greasy grub.  The key to success is all in the preparation. Just as professional athletes follow a game plan, you too can manage your game day - play by play! All you need are a few tips to help you stay on track.  

First, make sure to have a full breakfast and lunch before kickoff. Eating before the main event can help you maintain control when walking into a room filled with game-day treats. Remember to survey the entire spread before making your meal selections. If given the choice between a larger plate and a smaller plate, opt for the latter.  Remember to go for veggies first and build your plate from there. If you need help controlling the pace of your intake, try choosing items that must be eaten with utensils. Next make sure you are drinking water throughout the game - staying hydrated can help fend off hunger. Lastly, if you are concerned that your viewing party may not have a healthy dish for you, ask your host if you can bring your own.

Need some ideas on how to turn your usual appetizers into nutritious power houses? Try some of the ideas below! The MVPs of these recipes are non-starchy vegetables. Potatoes and corn are hitting the bench this game day, while lower carb/higher fiber vegetables make the starting lineup!
  1. Start with a vegetable platter and have it be the focal point of your game-day table.  Surround a homemade spinach dip or hummus with a colorful array of non-starchy vegetables like cucumbers, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes and bell peppers to create a low-carb appetizer.
  2. Need a healthier spinach dip? Use Greek yogurt with a light cream cheese or sour cream to create a lower calorie dish.
  3. Make veggie boats out of bell peppers or zucchini and use them to serve turkey chili, spinach dip or guacamole.
  4. Bake cauliflower/broccoli tots and serve with a flavorful marinara.
  5. If you need a healthier pizza, try using a cauliflower-based crust and topping it with veggies.
  6. Need to add protein to the mix? Try making mini-turkey meatballs with a marinara dipping sauce and provide toothpicks for easy pick up.
  7. Need a healthier buffalo chicken dip? Replace chips with lettuce wraps and use a light cream cheese rather than a full-fat version.
  8. Try roasting edamame or chickpeas for a poppable fiber-filled snack.  Edamame and chickpeas can also serve as the base of your homemade hummus.
  9. If your crowd will still be craving chips, try making your own at home by cutting up sweet potatoes or corn tortillas and tossing them in the oven.
  10. Need a pop of color?  Try making your own fruit skewers layered with apples, oranges and pears.  Need something a bit more savory? Try slicing up apples and making your own apple chips. Add some cinnamon before serving and place them alongside a plain Greek yogurt topped with honey.
If you are looking for even more education regarding how to reach your nutrition goals, book an appointment with us by contacting Joe Juliano, RD, Nutrition and Wellness Manager, The Valley Hospital, at 201-447-8093 or jjulian@valleyhealth.com. Until then, enjoy the game and stay healthy!

Sources: https://healthymeals.fns.usda.gov/features-month/whats-season

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